49ers Report Card

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in NFC title win over Packers

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in NFC title win over Packers

SANTA CLARA – Coach Kyle Shanahan’s final message to his team is that they were going to have to earn it on Sunday.

Just because the 49ers thrashed the Green Bay Packers earlier in the season, it did not mean that a win in the NFC Championship Game would come easy.

It did. But it didn’t.

The 49ers are moving onto Super Bowl LIV with a 37-20 victory over the Packers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

“That's one thing that's really cool about the NFL, nothing's given,” Shanahan said. “And I told the guys how proud I was that they had earned the right to be in a game to play for the Super Bowl. Regardless of what was going to happen, though, and what got us up to this point, that we were going to have to go out today and earn the right to go to the Super Bowl.

“And no one was going to give it to us. Those guys came out with that mindset from the first play on. They were relentless. I know we're going to enjoy tonight. But we're going to be ready to carry it over to Miami, too.”

But, first, let’s take a look at how all the different areas of the 49ers performed in their victory over the Packers:

Rushing offense

What’s the highest-allowable grade? Whatever it is, that’s what the 49ers should get for this performance.

Running back Raheem Mostert rushed for a franchise-record 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 rushing attempts. The offensive line was phenomenal. The 49ers did not even need to throw the ball.

Starter Tevin Coleman went down in the first half with a shoulder injury, and that was a tough blow. Mostert rarely came off the field for the remainder of the game. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel added 43 yards rushing on two attempts.

The 49ers averaged 6.8 yards per rushing attempt. And that includes Jimmy Garoppolo’s three kneeldowns for minus-3 yards to run out the clock at the end.

Grade: A-plus

Passing offense

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo posted a passer rating of 104.7. That’s pretty good, right?

Sure, it's fine. But the crazy thing is that Garoppolo attempted just eight passes in the game -- the fewest pass attempts in championship game history. And Garoppolo was just fine with it. He completed six of his attempts for 77 yards. Samuel had two catches for 46 yards. And tight end George Kittle had just one reception for 19 yards.

Nobody is complaining about the lack of production from the passing game because the passing game did about all that was asked of it.

Grade: A-minus

Rushing Defense

The 49ers’ run defense did a good enough job against running back Aaron Jones to keep the Packers’ offense in mostly third-and-long situations in the first half. The 49ers raced out to a 27-0 lead after one half.

Jones finished with 56 yards on 12 rushing attempts, but his 4.7-yard average looks a lot better than it was in real life.

Grade: A-minus

Passing Defense

Aaron Rodgers had just 65 yards passing in the first half, as the 49ers bolted to a commanding lead. The Packers had only 42 net yards passing, as Nick Bosa had a sack. K’Waun Williams also came up with sack of a blitz in the first half.

Rodgers ended up with some pretty big numbers. He completed 31 of 39 pass attempts for 326 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The 49ers certainly gave up more big plays that they would like in the second half.

Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, making the start over Ahkello Witherspoon, had an interception right before halftime that led to a touchdown. And Richard Sherman came up with a pick at the end the game to clinch it.

Grade: B-plus

Special Teams

After a rough start to the season, Robbie Gould and the kicking game is coming on strong at the right time. Gould helped get the 49ers off to a great start when he nailed a 54-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-0 on the first play of the second quarter.

Gould made all three of his field-goal attempts, including the clincher from 42-yard out with 3:31 remaining.

Richie James provided a big play in the kicking game with a 26-yard return to provide the 49ers with good field position. The 49ers cashed in with a field goal. Mitch Wishnowsky had a 38.5 net average with no return yards and one punt downed at the 8-yard line.

Grade: A

[RELATED: Ford can't wait to face Chiefs]

Overall

The 49ers played a bunch of down-to-the-wire games to finish the regular season. In comparison, the playoffs have been easy with 17-point victories over the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round and, now, over the Packers.

Shanahan has pushed all the right buttons, including his decision to call for a run play on a third-and-8 situation in a scoreless game in the first quarter. Mostert and the offensive line came through with a 36-yard touchdown run.

The run game certainly led the way, but this was another team effort that leads the 49ers to Miami.

Grade: A

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday)

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 36-26 win over Cardinals

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 36-26 win over Cardinals

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers were in danger of tumbling out of first place in the NFC West on Sunday.

The pesky Arizona Cardinals got off to a roaring start and controlled the 49ers for much of the first half. But the 49ers rallied from a 16-point deficit for a 36-26 victory at Levi’s Stadium.

The comeback was the 49ers’ largest in the regular season since coming back from 20 down to beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 2, 2011. In the NFC Championship in January 2013, the 49ers came back from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons.

The 49ers (9-1) extended their lead in the NFC West to a full game over the idle Seattle Seahawks (8-2).

Here are the 49ers’ grades from the Week 11 victory:

Rushing offense

The 49ers were having such little success that coach Kyle Shanahan scrapped the running game altogether in the second half.

“I think that was the first time I consciously got away from it in the second half, just because it didn’t look like it was going well,” Shanahan said. “I think they were playing really well upfront. We weren’t creating a ton of lanes.”

Matt Breida was sidelined with an ankle injury. Tevin Coleman had just 14 yards rushing on 12 attempts, while Raheem Mostert added 13 yards on six carries. The only good thing that can be said about the 49ers’ running game is they did not fumble.

Grade: D-minus

Passing offense

It was not without some drama, but ultimately quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got the job done with a career-high 424 passing yards, including the game-winning 25-yarder to third-string running back Jeff Wilson in the closing minute.

Garoppolo completed 34 of 45 passes with four touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating was 115.4.

Both of his interceptions came deep in Arizona territory in the second half and looked to be costly. Then, he drove the 49ers 65 yards on eight plays for the go-ahead touchdown.

Deebo Samuel had eight catches for 134 yards, and tight end Ross Dwelley had four receptions for 14 yards and two touchdowns.

Grade: A-minus

Rushing Defense

The 49ers had a difficult time bottling up the quarterback-driven run game of Kyler Murray, as he gained 67 yards on just eight attempts. And when he was not keeping the ball to himself, he was giving it to Kenyan Drake, who also had 67 yards on 16 carries.

Linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw led the way for the 49ers’ defense with 12 and 10 tackles.

Grade: C-plus

Passing Defense

Murray had a solid day, completing 24 of 33 passes for 150 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. But the 49ers also forced two fumbles in the passing game.

Newly signed defensive end Damontre Moore had a big forced fumble in the closing minute and Jaquiski Tartt recovered. Then, in a desperation situation, D.J. Reed scooped up a fumble and returned it 4 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game.

Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner and Jimmie Ward were credited with sacks.

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman had a difficult day in coverage against Arizona wide receiver Christian Kirk. Sherman was called three pass interference penalties totaling 72 yards.

Grade: B

Special Teams

The 49ers held their own on special teams.

Kicker Chase McLaughlin, filling in for injured Robbie Gould, made three extra points and a 43-yard field goal attempt. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky averaged 50.5 yards net on his two punts.

Richie James averaged 4.0 yards on two punt returns and 23.3 yards on three kickoffs.

Grade: B

[RELATED: Kittle reacts to Dwelley's big game]

Overall

Considering how this game started, the 49ers can feel fortunate to escape with a victory and a one-game lead in the division.

The 49ers bounced back on a short week to withstand a gritty performance from the Cardinals, who gave the NFC West leaders everything they could handle.

Despite some agonizing moments for Garoppolo, he rallied the team with a game-winning drive late in regulation.

The defensive performance was not dominant, but the 49ers made the plays necessary to win for the ninth time in 10 games this season.

Grade: B

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 27-24 loss to Seahawks

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 27-24 loss to Seahawks

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers, the last unbeaten team in the NFL, are unbeaten no longer.

The Seattle Seahawks came to town and emerged with a 27-24 overtime victory that took a physical toll on the 49ers while also providing another dose of anguish for the home fans at Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers fall to 8-1 on the season, while the Seahawks are right back in the NFC West hunt with an 8-2 mark.

Here are the 49ers’ grades from their first loss of the season:

Rushing offense

Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert combined for 68 yards on 15 rushing attempts, but the 49ers managed only two first downs on the ground.

Matt Breida really struggled, as he was clearly bothered by an ankle injury before leaving the game in the second half. Breida managed just 18 yards on 10 carries. The 49ers were not able to open consistent holes on the ground, as Seattle made it a point to slow down the running game. The Seahawks' front seven won this battle quite decisively.

Grade: D-minus

Passing offense

The pass protection really struggled.

Jimmy Garoppolo really struggled.

The pass-catchers really struggled.

This was a bad night for this group all the way around. Offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey were back in the lineup, and the Seattle pass rush feasted. Garoppolo lost two fumbles on sacks, including one that Jadeveon Clowney scooped up and returned for a touchdown.

The 49ers were playing without tight end George Kittle. No. 1 receiver Emmanuel Sanders went down in the first half with a rib injury. Deebo Samuel stepped up with eight receptions for 112 yards, but everyone else really struggled. Kendrick Bourne had a touchdown reception, but he had some costly dropped passes, too.

Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis had three passes thrown their way apiece. Neither caught a pass and both players had drops. They made zero contribution.

Garoppolo completed 24 of 46 passes for 248 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He should have had a few more interceptions, but Seattle’s defense let some easy opportunities slip away.

Grade: F

Rushing Defense

The 49ers run defense did a commendable job against Chris Carson, who gained 89 yards on 25 rushing attempts. The 49ers had to be happy with the effort to hold Carson to 3.6-yard per attempt.

Russell Wilson was the Seahawks’ most-effective runner, as he gained 53 yards on six scrambles. Those yards, though counting toward the rushing total, were on plays that started out as passes.

K’Waun Williams had a forced fumble of running back Rashaad Penny that DeForest Buckner recovered in the third quarter.

Grade: B

Passing Defense

The 49ers did a good job against Wilson, who completed 24 of 34 passes for 232 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw had what looked like a huge interception in overtime, along with a 47-yard return. However, the 49ers failed to cash in.

The 49ers' pass-rush got after Wilson, sacking him five times for minus-43 yards. Fred Warner had two sacks. Arik Armstead had 1.5 sacks, while D.J. Jones added a sack and K’Waun Williams came up with a half-sack.

The 49ers got back into the game in the fourth quarter when DeForest Buckner had a 12-yard fumble return for a touchdown after Armstead and Williams teamed up for a sack.

Jaquiski Tartt saved a touchdown in the first half when he stripped DK Metcalf of the ball near the goal line.

Grade: A-minus

Special Teams

Rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin was in line to be the star of the game after making a pressure kick at the end of regulation to send it to overtime. But when he had a chance to win it in the extra session, his kick sailed so far to the left that it ended up in the tunnel in the corner of the end zone.

Mitch Wishnowsky averaged 46.4 yards on his five punts, but he had one touchback and Tyler Lockett had a 20-yard return to leave him with a net average of 37.6 yards.

Richie James did not get much going in the return game.

Grade: C-minus

[RELATED: McLaughlin tries to make sense of missed FG]

Overall

First, it looked as if the 49ers were going to win a blowout. Then, it looked as if Seattle would pull away. It was a back-and-forth encounter that ended with Seattle taking home the victory in overtime.

The 49ers made so many mistakes. And the Seahawks let them off the hook with their failure to capitalize on many other potential mistakes. The 49ers’ defense gave the 49ers a chance to win, but the offense was mostly a disaster.

Grade: D